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by: Paul Sikkema
The web is abuzz with questions about the new 420 cc Craftsman motor! Ok, the buzz isn’t quite as strong as the latest iPhone 5 rumors, Dancing With The Stars or even Anne Hathaway but for those of you looking for an inexpensive lawn tractor or riding mower the questions you have are more than relevant.
I’ll keep this article short. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.
Here is what I know:
The engine was introduced last year in the Craftsman Model 25000 riding lawn mower and the owners really like the power it has. They also brag about the fuel economy.
It is designed from the ground up to handle today’s unleaded and 10% ethanol blended fuels.
It has a full pressure lube oil system with oil filter. This means it will run on inclines without running out of oil. It is better than all the other motors currently on the $1400 and less lawn tractors.
It is not made by Briggs & Stratton or Kawasaki. It is made by MTD. MTD has been making engines for quite some time now and they are proving to be reliable and trustworthy engines.
It is designed to replace competitor’s engines up to 500 cc.
See the new Rear Engine Rider and LT1500 Here:
2013 Craftsman Model 29000 Rear Engine Rider Review
2013 Craftsman LT1500 Lawn Tractor Review
Click the graphic below to enlarge it and see all the features.
My 420cc MTD runs for a few minutes then quits. After a cool down it will do the same. Fuel filter and line are flowing freely.
Hi William, Start by loosening the gas cap a quarter turn. The gas cap vents will clog and that causes the mower to starve for fuel.
got lt1500 in 2013 needs rings already any idea where I can get them
Hi Thomas, If it has a briggs – any Briggs and Stratton authorized repair center. If it is the MTD engine I suggest a new replacement. Two companies I like are https://www.jackssmallengines.com/Products/Engines and https://www.brandnewengines.com/engines.aspx.
Before you call or go looking: Have the tractor model number from under the seat. If the model number starts with 247 also have the serial number. Also – if you can find the engine nameplate on the engine take a picture of that or write the info down.
I HAVE THIS ENGINE IN MY MOWER. DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A REUSABLE AIR FILTER AND IF SO MAYBE A PART NUMBER OR MANUFACTURER OF THE FILTER. THE EXPERTS AT K & N DIDN’T KNOW.
Hi Margarito, The old oil & foam filter that was on your 3 1/2 hp Briggs push mower does not remove enough contaminants for these larger engines. The only filter available for this one right now is the original equipment, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Craftsman or Arnold pleated paper filter.
The gas cap being cracked or off did not work
Paul , my neighbor has the Sears rer1000 and after about 20-30minutes of mowing it sounds like it is running out of gas and dies. If you let it sit for about an hour it will start up and do the same thing. Any ideas in what could be the culprit?
He’s had it to a local mechanic and at first he said it was the low oil sensor , then it might be vapor locked, and now he’s putting a head gasket in it , but I don’t think it has anything to do with any of these items. Please help us.
Hi Steven, I’m not a mechanic. But that’s an MTD built mower and vent in MTD gas caps are notorious for clogging. When that happens again loosen the gas cap 1/2 turn, wait 5 minutes and I’ll bet it starts right up. If it does just buy a new cap. This should be the right one. Arnold is MTD parts dept: Arnold Universal Mower Gas Cap – 2-1/8″
Did the gas cap idea work for you
Hi, Steve- did you ever get this fixed, and if so, what did the trick? Having exactly the same issue
Hi Chris, It was a bad gas cap.
Have you had any feedback on the hydro trans now being offered? I’ve seen it on Cub Cadet & Troy Built 30″ rear engine models. I test drove the Cub Cadet & liked it. I want to know if I can pull a yard cart or lawn roller with it. The Cub I drove didn’t have the hitch plate installed, but I saw it in the user manual. My 36″ lawn roller is full of pea gravel (doesn’t freeze) and is pretty heavy. I’ve never had a hydro, and don’t want to toast a new piece of equipment. I can’t find a tow weight limit, but Cub does offer their yard cart as an accessory for the 30″ rear engine rider. Any help/advice is appreciated, thanks!
Hi Dan, The hydro is the standard HYDRO-GEAR T2HP. That is used on many of the inexpensive lawn tractors on the market. Craftsman, John Deere, Husqvarna, Troy-Bilt all use it. It will work fine pulling a yard cart for leaves, debris and sticks around the yard. In other words about 250 lbs.
Riders are not designed at all for lawn rollers. Lawn tractors are not designed for rollers. The frames are too light weight and there is no weight up front for the steering to work. I would have nightmares thinking about turning one going down a hill. Rough guess, your roller would be around 500-600 lbs if it’s full of pea gravel.
That may explain my two tranny rebuilds (replacing shift keys) in 15 yrs. 🙂 I’ll try to get the roller weighed before next use. It would ‘push’ a bit on the downhills, and I only turned it on flat ground. My old Simplicity Landlord had no problem, I know apples & oranges. Anyway, the hydro would be nice for my wife & son to use with the cart, perhaps even mowing!
Purchased the Craftsman 29000 series rear engine. What a sweetheart! Right up til it will not start…just start with the safety switches. Seat, deck, engagement and brake / clutch combo switch. After testing all of them…none bad! Simply stated, the brake switch had simply slipped out of position. It looked as though it was attached properly, it was not. On the Lawn again, Can’t wait to get on the lawn again fa la la la la. Great bang for the $$$.
Paul I have a rear engine Sears LT 1500 that needs the carburetor rebuilt. How does the carburetor come off or how do you remove the item 139 studs to get the carburetor off the engine block?
Hi Larry, I don’t know. But go to Youtube and use the search box there to ask the question. Someone has made a video showing you how.
I successfully threaded a Briggs & Stratton Oil Drain Valve 5401K onto the engine. That has a specification of 3/8″ x 18 NPTF. The valve was unsuccessful because the brilliant design of the Craftsman 247.288820 meant that the steering pushrod went through that same space and broke off the valve.
I am on my 3rd or 4th season and this time my 1/4 extension rounded out the hole so I need to use a screw extractor on it and perhaps replace it with a more standard automotive plug. This thing has never wanted to come out.
Maintenance parts seem hard but not impossible to find. Specifications do seem to be just about impossible to find except by inference from “try it” replacements like this. It may be Chinese junk (not the floating kind), but it does run well. I just wish the maintenance parts were a bit more available.
Thanks Phil, Hiding over on my snow blower site, movingsnow.com is a list of all the searspartsdirect.com parts pages for the MTD engines. Craftsman Branded Engine Parts MTD Powermore Parts
I want to warn others reading this that the engine uses metric fasteners. A Briggs uses American fasteners so installing that drain valve will ruin the threads in the engine block.
The book says this is a 4P90HU Craftsman engine so I want to make sure we are on the same engine here.
I know the Oil filter threads are a real-oddball (1-12 unf-2a as derived from one of the direct replacement parts). That thread specification is for a BOLT, not really a “pipe” like an oil filter, but it is basically a 3/4 bolt thread, not metric.
On the other hand the fasteners that hold the motor together are all metric and are specified as such.
So has anyone put a thread gauge on a stock part and determined the actual thread on the oil drain plug?
Who makes this engine (briggs and straton or kholer) how many hp 13.5 ?
@Don, the engine is made by Powermore (an MTD company) and it is only rated in cc’s. This motor is a full pressure (meaning oil pump that delivers oil right to the bearings) and has proven to be one of the most reliable small engine on the market.
Here is the engine parts list in case your are interested in parts availability. Craftsman 420 cc parts
Here’s your parts. Craftsman 420 cc parts
Hi Paul. I am really intersted in this LT1500 as it sure is Budget Friendly at Sears, at $999 out the door, versus the John Deere Models. I understand there is a difference with this LT1500 model to the ohn Deere 100 Series D125, not apple to apples, but if I am mowing on flat ground, less than 1/4 acre in total, with the features of the 420 motor, pressure lube, and 7 speed trans in the LT-1500, and the D-125 being $1799, plus the bonus of a free portable Weber Grill, the Deere is almost double this model, and I saw the Craftsman Youtube Ad on Yourube, it seems Craftsman is proud of the fact they are offering the best bang for buck in the under $1000 price range, any thoughts? Any advice to a first time NEW tractor buyer? I am not sure why so many people diss the MTD mowers anyhow, (this is made for Craftsman by MTD right?) as I had a 35 yr old Murray 5 hp, 3 speed, and sold it last year to friends who are still using it~! Thanks! Randy, Phoenix, AZ
@Randy, There are two things I always tell someone looking at the LT1500. 1. It is a manual transmission. You can shift up through the 7 speeds without the clutch but to shift down you have to use the clutch. 2. It does not mow in reverse.
Other than that it mows your lawn and the deck does a great job. The deck is the same design as all the 42 inch decks made by MTD.
Hal Spranger Fort Wayne, Indiana
I just purchased the sear rear engine model 290000. This is a great running maching and easy to use. I used it late last year and need to change the oil and filter. The original parts seem to be over priced and i am wonder what after market replacements i can use for the following. I used the lawn mover late last year and it is a great running machine and very user friendly.
@Hal, Today depending if the lawn tractor engine is a Briggs, Kohler or MTD an oil filter will run you $10-12, an air filter $15-30 and a spark plug $3-7. If you are spending less you run the risk of ruining your engine.
This is the MTD/Craftsman 420cc engine so Arnold should have replacement parts. Sears does not offer the Arnold part numbers so you can buy from someone else. You can try your local MTD/Cub Cadet/Troy Bilt dealer to see if they have the parts for the 420cc engine.
Craftsman 420cc OHV Engines Oil Filter (#751-11501)
Spark Plug: Item # 07133961000P. It’s the same plug as their snow blowers use. It’s not available online right now but any Sears store will have it for $2.99
Craftsman 420cc OHV Engines Air Filter (#951-12260/#751-12260 and Pre-Cleaner #951-12256/#751-12256)
Gas Filter: I suggest a good fuel filter like: Craftsman Fuel Filter
I have 29000 and have changed the oil several times using the plastic sleeve to try to direct the flow of oil away form the mower…..it doesn’t work!
Can I find out the thread size on the drain plug and just screw in an extension tube?
@Bill, I have your question into the manufacture. As soon as they get back to me, I’ll let you know.
I’ve been trying to find the stock oil drain plug # 710-05311 thread size, or specifications for 5 weeks! I’ve called searsparts, mtd, search the Internet, and it must be some Chinese space secret! Know one seems to know, but hope I can get this simple info before I die,or this rider goes to the scrap yard. Maybe someone at MIT or NASA has this info! LOL
@DWT122, I don’t know the size either but I am going to assume it is metric. If you need the part it is # 951-12253. You can get the part at searspartsdirect.com.
I was looking for the stock drain plug thread because I want to replace with a valve type!
HI DWT122, Personally, I would take the plug to a good hardware store. They will have a thread gauge so you can figure out what thread it has. From there it is a simple task to find the right diameter pipe.
Paul, first thanks for all your reply! Great idea now I’ll have to find a hardware store around me. Sears hardware just closed (3 blocks away). All the real hardware stores have been gone for years. I’ll try to match it at Home Depot, or a marine supply store that carries a nice selection of regular and stainless fasteners. When I find out I’ll post back. There are a lot of people buying these MTD, Troybilt, Craftsman 30″ rear engine mowers with Chinese made Powermore 420cc vertical shaft engines (Zongshen #4P90JUA) in them (even the salesman thought they were made by Briggs & Stratton). I have one on my 4 year old snow blower and find it easy start, reliable & trouble free. I just want to quickly and mess free be able to change the oil with an oil drain valve plug and hose. Everyone should by now realize preventive maintenance is the key to longevity! Again thanks for your input, DWT
I have a LT1500 420 cc lawn tractor.
I’ve run into a problem changing the oil.
The drain plug has about a ¼ inch square female hole in it.
I tried a ¼ inch socket extension in the hole and the end of the extension sheared off when I tried to turn the plug.
I imagine I need to buy a square socket to remove the plug, but I don’t know the correct size.
As I said it’s about ¼ inch square, but it may be a mm size.
It sure doesn’t give the size in the manual
The plug is in there pretty tight.
@Robert, It is 1/4 inch drive. If you have a 3/8 inch set I suggest you go get a 3/8 to 1/4 drive reducer. That is strong enough to break the plug loose.
Use the end of a 3/8″ socket drive extension, it’s square and it fits!